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Collaboration, consultancy and licensing

With over 1000 academics, scientists and engineers working at the forefront of new research and technology, the OU has the knowledge, expertise and creative problem solving skills to address challenges faced by organisations, large and small, working in sectors ranging from nanomaterials to smart cities. 

We aim to maximise the impact of our research and expertise through forming partnerships with organisations in the public and private sector to develop opportunities for collaborative and contract research and consultancy. The Enterprise Team has a dedicated role in developing these opportunities and is the first port-of-call to begin exploring how your organisation can work with the OU. 

Visit our Faculty and Institute web sites to explore all of the knowledge and expertise we have to offer:

Cross-disciplinary research groups

The OU’s network of cross-disciplinary research groups allows us to provide the key to unravelling the multidimensional challenges faced by industry today whilst our internal business units provide solutions to sector specific challenges.

Examples of our research groups and business units include:

Smart Materials logo

Smart Materials

The Smart Materials Group is committed to actively engaging with industrial and academic partners to develop novel solutions to challenges arising in the field of smart and functional materials. The scientists within the group have a long history of partnering with industry, through direct contract work, CASE awards, KTPs and Innovate UK awards.

The group’s expertise lies within in five overarching interdisciplinary research themes: (i) Synthesis of Novel Materials, (ii) Analysis and Diagnostics, (iii) Environmental Applications, (iv) Biological Materials and Therapeutics and (v) Nanoscale Energy and Surface Engineering.

Recent collaborations include the application of our expertise in organo-silicon synthesis to develop High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) columns designed to detect specific compounds in complex mixtures (e.g. within the pharmaceutical industry) and the development of gold nano-carriers for the targeting of drugs to the Central Nervous System (CNS).

Wearable Technology

The Wearable Technology Group is a cross-disciplinary collaboration of computer scientists, biomedical scientists and social scientists specialising in the development of novel solutions to the challenges faced in the development, application and uptake of wearable technologies.

The group's key area of expertise lies in the use of lifelogging technologies, haptic devices and wearable technologies to support medical practice, management of chronic conditions and disorders, and promote healthy aging.

The group collaborates with organisations in the public and private sector, including charities, SMEs and multinational companies. Current collaborations include the development of an empirically-grounded knowledge-base to influence the design of activity monitoring technologies for carers and those working in the medical sector (in partnerships with Samsung, Age UK MK, Carers MK and Oxford University) and the development of novel pressure sensors for use in the care industry (in partnership with Bonnie Binary).

Stress map logo


StressMap is the measurement services business unit of the OU dedicated to providing a specialist stress/strain measurement consultancy service to clients worldwide. StressMap specialises in the Contour Method of residual stress measurement and draws upon the expertise and state-of-the art facilities of the Materials Engineering Group. Our clients come from a range of industries including aerospace, power (nuclear and non-nuclear), automotive, and transport industries.